Term Time Holiday Bookings Soar Following Court Victory
Last month Jon Platt won a landmark case against his local council, wiping the £120 holiday fine from his daughter’s school, and now parents are rushing to book cheaper holidays during term dates, in what holiday companies are calling the ‘Platt effect’.
Mr Platt was fined £120 after taking his daughter out of class to go on a family holiday to Florida, as the school argued that this dropped her attendance below acceptable limits. Mr Platt turned to the law to argue that the fine was not legal, because her attendance at all other times of the year had been impeccable.
Since the ruling, holiday companies have seen an enormous spike in holiday bookings during term times, as parents are no longer afraid of fines and can get much cheaper deals outside of the peak summer holiday dates. For example, one study found that families could save as much as £2,400 by moving their trip to Spain a few days outside of the peak summer dates.
Ministers will now have to decide whether to close the loop hole altogether, or to make the rules much fairer for parents with children who attend school regularly. Until they make this decision, Middlesbrough council has suspended the fines pending clarification.
Currently parents must get permission from their child’s head teacher to take them out of school, but this can only be granted in exceptional circumstances. If parents fail to obtain permission and take their child out of school during term time, they can be fined £60, which jumps to £120 if not paid within 21 days. If you do not pay within 28 days, you can be taken to court and, if found guilty, could end up with a criminal record and face a fine of up to £2,500, court costs or even a jail sentence of up to three months.
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